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News
Annual production of 'The Nutcracker' set for Dec. 6-8

HUNTINGTON — Huntington Dance Theatre will perform its 39th annual production of “The Nutcracker” at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards Playhouse at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.

A pre-show gala with refreshments will be held one hour before each performance in the Playhouse lobby, and admittance is included in the performance ticket price.

The cast includes students from Huntington Dance Theatre, ages 4 and up, along with special guest artists Frederick Ocansey, Curtis Johnson and Will Meadows.

Tickets can be purchased through the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse Box Office for $25 for adults and $20 for children and seniors. The phone number is 304-696-ARTS (2787).

Huntington Dance Theatre is one of the oldest non-profit dance studios and companies in the Tri-State. The studio offers full or partial need-based scholarships for students in need of tuition assistance. Anyone interested in supporting artistic opportunities for local children and teens can donate to the “Partnering for a Pointe” scholarship fund, c/o Huntington Dance Theatre, 825 4th Ave., Huntington WV 25701.

For information on these events or a list of class offerings and schedules for 2020, call Megan Catalogna at 304-522-4230.


News
MU researchers find early detection important for newborns exposed to opioids

HUNTINGTON — Timely identification of newborns exposed to both opioids and gabapentin during pregnancy could mean more appropriate care for newborns experiencing withdrawal, according to researchers at Marshall University.

The research was done in collaboration with Marshall Health, Cabell Huntington Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infants exposed to opioids during pregnancy may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. However, according to the retrospective review study e-published Oct. 24, 2019, in The Journal of Pediatrics, those exposed to both opioids and gabapentin during pregnancy may have atypical withdrawal symptoms such as rapid eye movement, restlessness of the arms and legs, tongue thrusting, back arching and involuntary muscle twitching. As a result, health care providers may have a more difficult time treating infants who are co-exposed.

Gabapentin is an FDA-approved medication for nerve pain, epilepsy and in combination with medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, but its misuse has been documented. Because maternal self-reporting can underestimate prenatal exposure to substances, Marshall researchers examined the impact of universal, post-delivery maternal toxicology screening including gabapentin.

“Our study found an increase in identification of co-exposure, which led to more timely treatment and likely shorter hospital stays for those newborns experiencing withdrawal,” said Dr. Sean Loudin, lead author and associate professor of pediatrics at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, a board-certified neonatologist with Marshall Health and medical director of the Neonatal Therapeutic Unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital and Lily’s Place.

Before universal screening, newborns with co-exposure began treatment around day 20, on average. After universal screening began, newborns with co-exposure began treatment around day 14 of life, on average. Likewise, before universal screening, newborns with co-exposure had an average hospital stay of 58 days. After universal screening began, newborns with co-exposure had an average hospital stay of 48 days.

“While the charge for laboratory testing did increase slightly with the additional testing, the potential cost savings by reducing the average length of stay in a medical facility was much greater,” Loudin said.

Data are limited on the long-term effects of gabapentin exposure during pregnancy on an infant’s development. More research is needed to understand the full impact of multiple substances during pregnancy on infants.

Amy Saunders, managing director of the Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, said the research was an excellent example of interdisciplinary work at an academic medical center.

“Our team of researchers included a neonatologist, a pediatric neurologist, a nurse and two psychologists from Marshall,” Saunders said. “Interdisciplinary research is the key to understanding the whole person and responding to their unique needs. By bringing together multiple disciplines, along with local and federal researchers, we were able to draw on the expertise of multiple partners to examine the benefits of universal screenings.”

To read the article, visit https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.09.029. The study will also be published in an upcoming print issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.


News
Trial coming up in 2016 Guyandotte homicide

HUNTINGTON — A murder trial in the 2016 Guyandotte shooting death of a man is expected to begin later this month in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Joshua Dwayne Plante, 29, of Huntington, was previously indicted on one count of murder in the June 20, 2016, Guyandotte shooting death of Morrell Deshawn Paschell, 21, of Huntington, and one count of possession of a controlled substance after he was found to be in possession of drugs during his arrest.

Huntington police officer Dakota Dishman said the defendant and victim allegedly had past arguments over a woman both had dated briefly. Dishman said a unique pair of shoes, video surveillance from two residences and recovered guns would affirm statements from a woman who identified Plante and his vehicle in the video taken from the homicide scene.

Because one of Plante’s family members was also named in that indictment for the drug charge, the two counts were separated into separate trials because of fear the murder charge could affect the jury’s perception of Plante’s co-defendant, who was not involved in the shooting.

In a trial last year for the drug charge, Plante was found guilty and sentenced to serve a one- to 15-year prison sentence after a jury found he was in possession of 3 grams of heroin when he was arrested outside his Olive Street home the day Paschell was found dead. Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell also handed down a life sentence, of which Plante will have to serve at least 15 years, after he agreed Plante’s repeat drug and firearm offenses made him a substantial risk for the public.

Plante is expected to go to trial for the remaining murder charge Dec. 16 in Farrell’s courtroom. Both defense attorney Glen Conway and assistant prosecutor Joe Fincham believe the trial will happen.

Conway said he still wants to discuss some small evidentiary matters with the court, and Fincham said he is waiting on a finalized forensic report from the Huntington Police Department. The medical examiner on the case is set to testify in a different trial in Kanawha County the same week as this trial, but Fincham said it should not interfere with Plante’s case.

Plante is currently housed at Mount Olive Correctional Center. His next parole hearing is set for 2031.


News
Police release name of crash victim

HUNTINGTON — Police have released the name of a man killed in a crash Saturday morning in Huntington.

Robert Chase Adkins, 27, of Huntington, was driving a vehicle that struck a utility pole just before 1 a.m. Saturday on 3rd Avenue at 3rd Street, according to Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial.

Dial said the crash happened near the railroad tracks, so train traffic was stopped until officers cleared the scene. Appalachian Power crews were also on scene, and 3rd Avenue between 4th Street and 2nd Street was closed for a majority of the day Saturday for repairs to the utility pole.

Adkins’ name had been withheld pending notification of his family.

Dial did not give any details on the cause of the accident.

“A traffic accident specialist was at the scene trying to determine how this accident happened,” Dial said. “We have no other details to release at this time as the investigation is ongoing.”

The following information was provided by reports from the Huntington Police Department:

The Huntington Police Department listed 14 new incident reports in the 24-hour period ending at 3 p.m. Monday, according to a printout released by the department. However, the individual police reports were not made available, so these are the only known details:

Possession of a controlled substance, 12:03 a.m. Monday, 4200 block of Altizer Avenue.

Petit larceny, 3 p.m. Sunday, 1300 block of Washington Avenue.

First-degree robbery, 8:50 p.m. Sunday, 300 block of 6th Avenue.

First-degree robbery, 4 a.m. Sunday, West 9th Street and Washington Avenue.

Burglary, entry of dwelling or outhouse, first-degree robbery, battery, 4 a.m. Sunday, 900 block of Washington Avenue.

Petit larceny, breaking and entering, 6 p.m. Thursday, 1200 block of 5th Avenue.

Domestic battery, 2:40 p.m. Sunday, 2400 block of 1st Avenue.

Destruction of property, 10 a.m. Nov. 17, 800 block of Virginia Avenue.

Destruction of property, 2:30 a.m. Sunday, 2900 block of Auburn Road.

Possession of marijuana, 10:53 a.m. Sunday, 800 block of 22nd Street.

Runaway juvenile, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 1100 block of Jefferson Avenue.

Disorderly conduct, 7 a.m. Sunday, 900 block of Washington Avenue.

Found property, 6 a.m. Sunday, West 9th Street and Washington Avenue.

Intoxication or drinking in public places, illegal possession of alcoholic liquor, trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, 5 a.m. Sunday, Oakwood Road.